Youth jazz festival returns to Surrey

Members of the Elgin Park Grade 9 Jazz Band performed last year at the Envision Financial Jazz Festival. This year
Members of the Elgin Park Grade 9 Jazz Band performed last year at the Envision Financial Jazz Festival. This year's festival runs Feb. 21-22 at Sullivan Heights Secondary and Surrey's Bell Performing Arts Centre.
— image credit: File Photo / The Leader

The 32nd-annual Envision Financial Jazz festival kicks off tomorrow, bringing together more than 2,000 high school students and professional musicians for two days of music and learning.

The event takes place Feb. 21 and 22 at Sullivan Heights Secondary in Surrey and is one of Canada’s largest youth music festivals, with 28 of the top high school jazz bands from the Pacific Northwest taking part this year.

While students perform for adjudicators in six categories during the day, an evening performance Friday features experts such as Tom and Arnt Jeffrey Arntzen and Steve Kaldestad. A concert Saturday evening showcases junior and senior rep bands. Both take place at the Bell Performing Arts Centre (6250 144 St.) at Sullivan Heights.

“We’re very proud to stage this showpiece jazz festival which has earned a reputation in Canada and into the U.S. as a quality music education and entertainment event,” says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson. “Our board is grateful for Envision Financial’s support, as it is key to the festival’s success and more importantly, key to ensuring students have a high-profile, professional quality venue in which to develop, perform publicly and have a lot of fun.”

As part of Envision Financial’s The Full Cupboard, the festival will again be addressing the issue of hunger in local schools by supporting the Surrey School District’s meal programs. Attendees are invited to make a cash donation at any evening performance. More $3000 was raised for the meal programs last year. The program feeds 3,450 students at 44 schools each day.

Tickets are not required for the noon hour concerts or the evening performance and awards presentations on Feb. 22.

For tickets for the Feb. 21 evening performance, call 604-507-6355. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. For more information, check www.envisionjazzfestival.sd36.bc.ca

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